Seventhman Blog

  1. Do You Have What It Takes to Become a Great CEO?

    "great leadership"I’m just catching up with the news around this year’s Olympics in London and thought that I would blog about inspiration you can get from the game that applies to an entrepreneur’s world.  Problem is that many are doing that already.  Come to think of it, business is a lot like sports.. where you engage in the game of solving your customer’s pain, offer them something unique, sell, build relationships, lead and try to gain your sanity by aiming for a work-life balance.  Sometimes, it makes you think that radical thinking is the only real thing that separates a good business from a great one.  While many of the benefits far outweigh the challenges every business owner face, it makes me wonder why only a small percentage of companies are truly great.  What is great..?

    What Makes a Great Startup CEO

    Being CEO has more than a touch of glamour printed on your business card.  It’s more than that drive to innovate that moves the usual CEO to becoming a great one.  S/he is a keeper of the vision that’s larger for everyone to understand and I’m talking long term here.  Just take a look at how giants like Apple, Facebook and Google all started as startups.. and the great leaders that pushed everyone to put the pieces of a huge jigsaw puzzle together in building something larger than life.  Have they known that they will become a phenomenal success?  Of course, not!  Only movies got spoilers for that and for the rest of us who work hard to make this vision a reality, it takes passion, determination and extremely low levels of tolerance for stress that makes you wonder if we’re some sort of a sadomasochistic herd ( no pun intended ).  Yes, everyone wants to have our job because we are insanely successful, we can take off whenever we want, got lots of time to party around and so on.  I hate to break the bad news to you.. but the real scenario is far from the myths that surround an entrepreneur’s life.  I can work 18 hours or more in a day or two just to keep things working for my clients.  I may not be building the next breakthrough in the name of tech, but the harder I work, the more results I see.  Great CEOs are always excited to control their own destiny.

    Do You Have What It Takes to Build a Great Business?

    Most of us online are already well connected.  You got the expertise and the contacts.  What should you do next?  In my years of competing in the consulting business, I have learned that there is a fine line between being unique and being useful.  What differentiates you from the rest doesn’t necessarily mean that it is something of value to your customers, and focusing on benefits alone can turn your business into a boring brand, something that looks like everyone else.  Where do you draw the line?  While you may disagree with me on this very opinionated post that you should not focus on revenues, your sensitivity through active listening will just help you pinpoint the real root cause of the problem.  In a world where the fast beats the big, time is quintessential.  As Bill Gates said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”  Consequently, it is of no coincidence that the world’s greatest leaders ( even the infamous ones ) are great communicators.  Truth is, your clients won’t really care how much you know until they know how much you care about their problem.  Creating this culture of caring into your business will pave the road to greatness.

    Managing Your Mind: The Great Barrier to Your Success Reef

    The biggest challenge that you will face before you become a great CEO is facing the doppelganger of your restless mind.  How many times have you doubted your performance?  You think you’re doing a great job and yet, you feel bad.  What’s wrong in this picture?  The only way for you to become a great leader is to be one.  No amount of management training can really prepare you for the job of running a company.  And even if you think you know what you are doing in an era where everyone is involved in the new way of doing business, things can go awfully wrong.  When it does, you may add more injury to the pain by taking everything too personally or not personally enough.  Where do you really step in?  Is being great a lonely job, after all?  I’d say that there will be plenty of times when you feel like quitting and if you succumb, you wouldn’t know that you’re only a step away towards success.  Fear is irrational and it’s all inside your head.

    Can you keep your focus on your roadmap?  That’s something for you to ponder on this summer..

  2. The Hidden Power of Introverts: A Great Leader in the Making

    "power of introvert"What makes a great leader these days?  Does it have something to do with the willingness to take risks and invest in dreams?  Is it calculated by works of innovation?  Surely, there’s more to a great leader than what many dictionaries, blogs and online articles can ever define.  While great leaders harness the power of their dreams in making it a reality, perhaps, it’s that attitude that got them to the hall of fame.  More than just the willingness to work non-stop to achieving their goals, it may have something to do with the attitude.  This now comes down to a question:  Who makes great leaders: Introverts or Extroverts?

    Putting an Introvert in Charge

    Recently, I’ve watched a talk by Susan Cain on the Power of Introverts (as shared below ).  What struck me is that in this digital age, we live in a world of ceaseless noise and most often, the way to beat everyone else is to make sure that you are louder.  In this extroverted business world, just how can the silent ones survive and thrive?  Being outspoken and sociable is a must as we connect with each other, offline and online.  Still, what’s surprising is that research shows most of the thought leaders in their field are introverts, even in this era of social collaboration.  Perhaps, introverts make better leaders because of one thing: They’re more likely to listen and pay attention.  Those who everyone sees as a quiet and shy person may possess that reticent mind tailored to success.

    Introverted Leaders: A Diamond in the Rough

    Those who are not outspoken doesn’t mean they are dumb.  It’s an oversimplification.  On the other hand, if someone is quieter, that person may be more focused in doing his/her job well, making sure that everything is done properly.  This quietness is their strength because they know how to think first, before talking later.  Unlike extroverts, they learn through listening and their calm demeanor can help them become more focused on finding the best solutions.  These types are more likely to dig deeper in solving issues before moving on to new ones.  Whenever things go wrong or arguments heat up, they exude that calm confidence that makes them speak slowly, but reassuringly.  They may not be great at talking, but they take time composing their thoughts to come up with the best words to articulate what they have in mind.  In the long run, this kind of clarity helps an introverted leader gain more trust from his/her team – paving the road to great leadership.

    Stomping Out the Extroversion Bias

    Unfortunately, introversion is treated like some type of disease that children need to be treated from.  Our society even encourages us to take on the extrovert ideal, of becoming a charismatic, outspoken ( and nearly narcissistic ) person.  Being bold and gregarious has been our way of survival ever since the first humans lived.  Even in our modern offices, we conduct brainstorming sessions and encourage everyone to think loud.. and most often, the one who did the loudest gets the favor of the group.  Because of this bias, many introverts feel that there’s something wrong with them and they try their best to pass as extroverts.  They willingly give up time to spend in quiet, worthwhile activities so they can attend social events instead.  I have nothing against extroversion though, and I believe that a balance between the two is like Yin and Yang; also, introverts shouldn’t be put on a bad light just because they prefer to spend more time at home.

    Because introverts are at their best when they are solitary, the next time someone marked you as one, just smile and be proud… You have the makings of a great leader!